An investigation into the feasibility of applying the watergas shift process to increase hydrogen production rate of the hybrid sulphur process
Ngeleka, Tholakele Prisca
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An investigation was undertaken to determine the feasibility of increasing the hydrogen production rate by coupling the water gas shift (WGS) process to the hybrid sulphur process (HyS). This investigation also involved the technical and economical analysis of the water gas shift and the H2 separation by means of Pressure swing adsorption (PSA) process. A technical analysis of the water gas shift reaction was determined under the operating conditions selected on the basis of some information available in the literature. The high temperature system (HTS) and low temperature system (LTS) reactors were assumed to be operated at temperatures of 350°C and 200°C, respectively. The operating pressure for both reactors was assumed to be 30 atmospheres. The H2 production rate of the partial oxidation (POX) and the WGS processes was 242T/D, which is approximately two times the amount produced by the HyS process alone. The PSA was used for the purification process leading to a hydrogen product with a purity of 99.99%. From the total H2 produced by the POX and the WGS processes only 90 percent of H2 is recovered in the PSA. The unrecovered H2 leaves the PSA as a purge gas together with C02 and traces of CH4, CO, and saturated H20. The estimated capital cost of the WGS plant with PSA is about US$50 million. The production cost is highly dependent on the cost of all of the required raw materials and utilities involved. The production cost obtained was US $1.41/kg H2 based on the input cost of synthesis gas as produced by the POX process. In this case the production cost of synthesis gas based on US $6/GJ for natural gas and US $0/Ton for oxygen was estimated to be US $0.154/kg. By increasing the oxygen and natural gas cost, the corresponding increase in synthesis gas has resulted in an increase in H2 production cost of US $1.84/kg.
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